Rangers need to mind the gap, warns War­bur­ton

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Rangers man­ager Mark War­bur­ton has cau­tioned his club not to spend rashly in a bid to bridge the gap with ri­vals Celtic.

The 54-year-old English­man’s warn­ing came on the back of Rangers’ sec­ond Old Firm de­feat of the sea­son as they lost 1-0 to Celtic in a League Cup semi­fi­nal on Sun­day.

Celtic, who top the Scot­tish Premier­ship, dom­i­nated do­mes­tic foot­ball while Rangers, cur­rently fifth in the ta­ble, were ex­iled in the lower leagues following fi­nan­cial col­lapse in 2012.

Celtic are also reap­ing the fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits of reach­ing the Cham­pi­ons League group stages, which will in­crease their spend­ing power com­pared to their ri­vals. War­bur­ton knows a thing or two about money hav­ing spent 20 years as a City trader prior to ex­chang­ing it for a ca­reer in foot­ball coach­ing.

And while ac­knowl­edg­ing a fi­nan­cial gap ex­ists be­tween the Glas­gow ri­vals at the mo­ment, War­bur­ton says it’s im­per­a­tive Rangers spend wisely in the trans­fer mar­ket and build from the grass­roots up rather than chase a short-term fix.

“The worst thing Rangers could do is spend reck­lessly to try to close that gap too quickly,” he said.

“There is a fi­nan­cial gap that ex­ists at this mo­ment in time. “They (Celtic) have a squad packed with in­ter­na­tional play­ers. They are in the Cham­pi­ons League this year and are get­ting all the ben­e­fit of that in terms of play­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and fi­nan­cial in­come.

“We recog­nise and re­spect that. We then have to sit down and de­cide how do we close it? How do we im­prove our squad? Can we in­vest as­tutely and wisely? “We have to set ag­gres­sive tar­gets to try and close the gap. If our sup­port­ers can see that, we will be in a good place.

“I read some lu­di­crous com­ments this morn­ing about how my City back­ground should make me aware of the power of fi­nan­cial mus­cle. I’m not a rocket sci­en­tist but I’m not a fool.

“Of course you recog­nise the im­pli­ca­tions of a ri­val club with a strong fi­nan­cial base at this mo­ment in time. But what is also im­por­tant is the tar­get set­ting so we know what we have to do in what time frame in what gap.

“The worst thing we could do is not build strong foun­da­tions here, and from the chair­man and the board down the club is very clear what we have to do.”

Their hopes of a League Cup fi­nal may be gone but War­bur­ton, whose side host St John­stone on Wed­nes­day, says Rangers can’t af­ford to mope.

“There can’t be any hang­over, and there is no use in feel­ing sorry for your­self. There are no fit­ness or fa­tigue is­sues,” he said. “St John­stone played yes­ter­day (Sun­day) too (they beat Dundee 2-1 in a Premier­ship clash) just two hours ahead of us and Tommy Wright and his team will be work­ing hard to re­cover. We are look­ing for­ward to what will be another tough game to­day.” —AFP

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